Thursday, February 6, 2014

Here's an email I received today.  We should view this as progress, although it raises its own set of questions.  The key one, of course, is:  Will the report to the President be made public to the University community?  Another is whether the the University will avail itself of the expertise of outside reviewers, experts in medical ethics, to help review its practices, or whether it will rely solely on internal resources.  A final question is whether the University views it as appropriate that the Dean of the College of Medicine serves on the board of directors of a major pharmaceutical company. 

Mr. Levy, You may attribute the following statement to me—Thomas Hardy, Executive Director of University Relations, University of Illinois: 

 “Last month, the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System was mentioned in an advertisement for the DaVinci Surgical System, used in robotic surgical procedures at our hospital. 

“The ad, which appeared in a New York Times Sunday Magazine, pictured members of our surgical unit, each of whom was identified by name and academic degree. The ad was paid for by the device manufacturer, Intuitive Surgical. Neither UI Health nor any individual was compensated for appearing in the ad.

“We asked Intuitive to suspend the ad, and the company agreed, immediately upon learning of concerns expressed about it. Our request was based on a business decision; we were concerned that the ad was not benefiting UI Health. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to review circumstances surrounding the publication of the advertisement.  We will use this opportunity to conduct a methodical assessment of policies, guidelines, procedures and practices, and where corrective changes are required we will take the appropriate action.

“Coordinating this review at the request of the University President will be will be the Vice President for Research. The VP-Research and the Vice Chancellor for Research at the respective campuses administer the University’s Report of Non-University Activity (RNUA) policy on conflict of commitment and interest. In addition to the VP-Research, participants in the review will include the Vice Chancellor for Research at the U of I’s Chicago campus (UIC); the University’s Ethics Office; University Counsel; the interim Vice President for Health Affairs; offices of the UIC Chancellor and Provost; the UI Hospital and the UIC College of Medicine. A report to the President on the review is due March 15."

Attached to the email was this letter:


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